News / Africa

IFAD Head Calls for People Investment

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD
IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development says Africa’s greatest resource is its people. He calls on leaders to heavily invest in their workforce or risk continent-wide poverty by 2030.
 
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD president
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD presidenti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Kanayo Nwanze’s comments come in an open letter to the 23rd AU Summit on Agriculture and Food Security. It’s being held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea through June 27.
 
He said, “Someone in my capacity, as an African as well, should be able to speak openly and frankly with our heads of state. I think it’s a moral obligation. It’s a moral imperative because I believe that Africa again is at the crossroads.”
 
He said that people are Africa’s best resource, including the 200 million between the ages of 15 and 24.
 
“Now that’s a very powerful resource base. And when you also realize that that population of 200 million young people – often times unemployed – if we waste their future it’s going to be a great loss for the continent. These are the future leaders of Africa. We have to give them hope. We have to give them something to look forward to. I think if we don’t sew the seeds for that hope now, we’re going to have a very explosive situation in the next decade.”
 
He said if African leaders don’t act now the continent will account for 80 percent of the world’s poor by 2030. A figure, he said, is supported by data from the World Bank and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
 
“Africa is the only region in the world where the numbers of the poor have increased,” he said.
 
Nwanze called on African leaders to deliver development now – with the priority on rural people.
 
“Food does not grow in cities,” he said, “Food grows in rural areas. If you do not invest in the youth, particularly in the rural areas – if you do not make agriculture attractive to them – to create jobs – to generate wealth – to give them some sense of dignity – what is going to happen? They will continue to migrate from the rural areas to the urban cities. You end up with what you call the urban bulge.”
 
He warned that could lead to many disenchanted young people living in slums and susceptible to crime.
 
“When we talk about poverty, when we talk about inequality in Africa, it is basically an inequality between the rural and the urban space.”
 
More than 10 years ago, African leaders committed to the Maputo Declaration. It required that at least 10 percent of national budgets be devoted to agriculture and rural development. The IFAD president says only seven countries have fulfilled that commitment.
 
Nwanze said such investment is critical on a continent where “20 states are classified as fragile and 28 countries need food assistance.”
 
He had three recommendations for leaders at the AU Summit: Make investment in agriculture and rural development a priority, including infrastructure, energy and roads; second, invest in education, particularly of women; and third, provide social services.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid